"Sanctions? No Problem!" Western Nations Resort to "Workarounds" to Buy Russian Energy, says Minister

According to Russian Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov, Western nations continue to purchase Russian energy despite the unprecedented sanctions imposed by the US and the EU on Moscow. He told the Russia 1 TV program that these countries had simply shifted to "workarounds" to obtain Russian commodities.

When questioned if Western nations continued to purchase Russian oil and gas but via different channels, Shulginov responded that this information was "correct." He made no mention of the exact ways taken to transport Russian energy to clients in the West, though.

The EU, the Group of Seven countries, and their allies enacted a collective embargo on Russian seaborne oil shipments in December 2022, coupled with a $60 per barrel price restriction. On February 5, a new embargo that prohibited practically all imports of Russian oil products as well as set price controls on gasoline and other petroleum products went into effect.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 undersea pipes were sabotaged in September 2022, rendering them unworkable, despite the fact that Russia's gas pipelines have not been subject to limitations. As a result, the country's gas shipments to the EU were significantly decreased. According to Politico, the EU still has not come to a decision on whether to impose sanctions on Russian gas pipelines as of mid-May.

According to a March Bloomberg article, certain EU countries have been aggressively importing Russian LNG, with Spain leading the pack in early 2023. Since the commencement of the war in Ukraine, Spain has increased its imports of Russian LNG by 84%.

A significant Russian LNG importer, France will buy 1.9 million metric tons of the fuel in 2022. Belgium purchased 310,000 metric tons within the same time period, while Spain purchased 533,800 metric tons after that, according to Bloomberg.

Between January 1 and March 9, this year, Spain was also the biggest importer of Russian fossil fuels, according to the news agency. Belgium and Bulgaria followed soon behind.

Early in May, the EU proposed a fresh set of measures that included forbidding ships that had broken restrictions on Russian oil from accessing EU ports and waterways. Josep Borrell, the head of the EU's foreign policy, later urged the bloc to outlaw Indian fuel made using Russian oil.

The second-largest public sector lender in the country, Bank of Baroda, reported in May that India's own oil imports from Russia increased tenfold in the fiscal year ended in March. Russia has switched its oil shipments to other regions of the world, mainly Asia and Latin America, notwithstanding the Western sanctions.

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